I’ve laid in our bed in Greer for so long that I start to feel as if I am convalescing. We wake at 5AM because this is who we are now, but I don’t move. Golden light streams through cracked blinds as the sun rises. We should go, I think. We should really really go.
I shower one more time. I thaw the iced coffee I made, the cup that froze in the back of our mini fridge. We do a final sweep of the room, lock up the windows and doors and we leave. Finally.
Today we are starting section six! Section six is notorious. It is the second to last section of the Mogollon Rim Trail and both the creators and the small handful of people who’ve hiked it say it’s the hardest section of the route, which is really saying something to me because a lot of it has been hard. It’s long (which means heavier food bags), it’s remote (likely no reception the whole time) and it includes multiple river fords, if the river is passable at all- which it might not be. We have alternates in case it’s too sketchy, but we are very hopeful that we can do the main route.
First we climb. We climb 2.6 steep miles, miles that aren’t technically a part of our route at all, just miles to get to the beginning of the section. I am winded and thirsty and over full from breakfast. I stop frequently to catch my breath, my lungs aren’t cooperating. It’s all the time in bed!!!! I think. I’m no longer used to walking.
We hit our track and the day consists of two situations:
1) Upward climbs into ponderosa forest. The forest has blown down trees laying lifeless on the trail and big snow patches to intermittently walk through
2) wide open meadow expanse, with tussock style plants and ground completely saturated like a bog.
We go up into forest and then down into bog four times. We cross a relatively shallow but extremely icy river. There is SO MUCH water, fresh snow melt absolutely everywhere, and I have a sinking feeling: we’re probably not going to be able to cross the Black River again and again and again in a couple of days. It’s just….so cold. And maybe going to rain? Which could mean snow? Who knows.
We stop to camp early and discuss. We won’t know until we know, we probably shouldn’t assume either way. It might warm up, though the forecast says rain and rain and rain and more rain. We heat our pots of stew. We lay out our options clearly. We’ve done as much as we can do today. Either way there’s a plan for the river– we’ll try to ford and if we can’t, we’ll go the other way. No pressure at all.
Either way we’ll be fine.
📍The Mogollon Rim trail is on Yavapai, Western Apache, Hopi and Hohokum land. I am a grateful guest